DIVING IN MALTA & GOZO

email: mark@inspired-training 

Malta and Gozo have long been a mecca for scuba divers. Just 2.5 hours flying time from the UK means diving same day in crystal clear Mediterranean water, almost as warm as anywhere in Egypt. Landing in Malta you either stay in the many resorts around the island or get a ride to the ferry port and onward travel to Gozo. Its 40mins by car to the ferry and then 25mins at sea on the continuous ferry service (cost 3 or so as a foot passenger)
 

Gozo channel ferry

a short walk to the wrecks in Gozo

looking across from Gozo to Malta

gucci yacht with VW bug on board

If you stay on Malta you have all the usual infrastructure of a large island with either frantic bars or laid back beaches. On Malta I stayed in Buggiba on the north west coast. Malta like Gozo is blessed with dozens or interesting shore dives but is also slightly closer to the dozens of wrecks that surround the island. Some wrecks are close to Malta, some Gozo, but whether you leave from either island the wrecks are not far away. Gozo life trickles by a very sedate pace compared to Malta, dive sites are all very close so if you want to roll out of bed at 2pm and still go diving, Gozo is the place. Gozo feels as though it is 20 years behind Malta regarding the rat race but you needn't put up with old fashioned accommodation. We stayed eventually at Ulysses apart-hotel which is a veritable oasis in a guesthouse desert and quite inexpensive.

Gozo is predominately all shore diving but has some excellent sites whether deep or shallow, cave or wreck. Gozo has three wrecks placed almost side by side in 40metres or so depth. All are easily accessible from the shore, the wrecks (Cowella, Xlendi & Cominoland) are reached by jumping from the shore and following compass bearings read from the information plaque in the adjacent car park. Cowella and Cominoland are upright and interesting to all divers capable of diving to 30metres plus with penetration opportunities for those inclined. The Xlendi turned turtle as she sunk so offers her rump to the casual observer but scope for advanced exploration if you are up for excitement. Gozo has some well stocked dive centres and all things recreational or technical is available. I dived on my Pelagian CCR with my buddy Iona using a twin-set hired from Moby Dive, because of our extra gas reserves we managed a dive that covered a tour of 2 of the wrecks  on a dive lasting 80 minutes.  Gozo dive centres will either guide you around any dive site for seemingly little money but if you want some self directed exploration then all have no problem hiring you kit and pointing you in the right direction.

a bit of light penetration avec Pelagian (ooh arhh) wreck dive info from Gozo Olga from Subway-Dive (Buggiba, Malta) and me

Malta and Gozo are of course islands and therefore prone to the prevailing winds. Luckily the islands are of a size that their are always dive sites available on the lee coast. In Gozo, the lee coast is never more than 20mins away. Malta is the larger island so you can expect slightly longer travel times but  of course more choice. Gozo and Malta both offer caverns and caves and 'inland seas' and both have fantastic wrecks that can be reached from shore.

Gozo has deeper water (70metres+) that is easy to reach from the land and plenty of easy-to-reach caverns and caves but Malta is surrounded by wrecks from WW2 that are easier to reach from here than Gozo (although there is not much in it). There are plenty of shallow wrecks for all tastes, but i was most interested by the likes of HMS Stubborn (submarine in 60m) and the other dozen or so in technical dive depths. Such names as HMS Russell, SS Polynesian, HMS Southwold and the S31 Schnellboot will moisten the lips of any tech diving looking for something out of the ordinary. Check this map for other wrecks

HMS Stubborn - 58m

Kristu l-Bahhar statue in Qawra marine park (40m)

Twin tugs - a shore dive in 26m

HMS Stubborn 58m

Gozo and Malta have masses of excellent shore and wreck diving all just 2-3 hours from Gatwick and all generally in Red Sea conditions.

I dived with Moby Dive in Xlendi, Gozo

and
Subway Scuba in Buggiba, Malta

 

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email: mark@inspired-training

copyright: Mark Ellyatt 1999-2007